Thursday, February 4, 2010
Maxwell's Birth Story
(Sorry this is long and detailed, it is also my way of preserving this memory!)
In March of 2003 I found out we were expecting our 1st baby. It was a bittersweet moment of panic while I held the pregnancy test in my hand while I sat on the bathroom floor with Matt (my boyfriend) on the other side of the door begging me to open it.
I came out with tears streaming down my face, but I was also smiling ear to ear, and he was too.
Matt and I had been together for 8 years, living together 6 of those years. I was in a bad place when I got pregnant...emotionally a mess, crying many hours of the day, emotional breakdowns, very depressed, hating my job and had a general distaste for life and unsure of my future. The long painful cancerous death of my father 6 years prior was still resonating within, I was still not over it...or all of the other issues from childhood, I just could not get past it all...
I was becoming self destructive and careless, experimenting with new drugs and drinking maybe too often, hanging with the wrong people and treating my boyfriend like crap. Of course when I became pregnant I stopped all of that immediately and my entire outlook on life did a complete 180 in a matter of a moment. There was now hope. There was love. I found myself under all the self pity and gray clouds and prepared myself for the future as a mother. I could not help but smiling as I looked at the pregnancy test. This pregnancy may have very well saved my life.
We were living in a 1br, 3rd floor, attic apartment, but I was content with staying here for a while, this was my home. My 1st place not living with my Dad. We decided to stay here and there would be plenty of room to bring a baby home to.
Being young and naive, I did not know there were alternatives to OBGYN practices and hospitals, oh if only I knew then what I know now. But I went ahead and made an appointment with the local OBGYN team of 8 or so Dr's. None of those I felt close to. I felt like a # in an assembly at a baby factory. The waiting room visits were long, the office visits were fast, they rarely looked me in the eye and saw me as a human. Matt accompanied me to my 1st appt, the one where they thoroughly check you out, and I asked Matt to stay in the room with me.
The remainder of my pregnancy was pretty uneventful. Everything went "normal" and complication free, with the exception of the 12 weeks of morning/day sickness. I felt great and super excited and anxious as any 1st time mom. I read the general 'What to Expect' books and the faithfully obsessed over those dreaded TLC birth shows.. (ugh...) I learned my lesson and personally now despise such shows and books...
I worked full time, on my feet most of the day until a week before baby was due. I gained about 30 lbs.
We had my Ultrasound on June 11th and was super excited to find out we would be expecting a son.
On November 8th, in the middle of the night I went to the bathroom, and was panicked to see "bloody show/mucus plug" in the toilet. I did not read about this anywhere and thought something was horribly wrong. I called the Dr's office and had the service call the Dr. on call. The one woman OBGYN on the team, called me back groggy, half-asleep and angry! I told her what happened, she basically called me stupid, said what it was, yelled at me for calling, and told me to go to bed.
On November 9th, one day past my EDD, Matt went to work, a nervous soon to be Dad, but I assured him all was fine and I would call him if anything happened. However, not long after he left I was having unusual back pain most of the morning and afternoon and called my sister. She was the only person I was close to that had experienced child birth, (4 times!) someone I felt I could trust.
She thought it was a good idea that I come to her house just in case it was real labor. Contractions soon became regular and my nephew, who was maybe 10 or 11 enjoyed documenting the contraction length and intervals for me. The pain was becoming very strong in my back and I found kneeling on her stairs a comfort.
Coincidentally, the same day, at 4pm, my older nephew was departing for the air force! His LT. came to pick him up and I was sad he would be leaving right before he got to meet my baby.
Matt arrived and at about 6 pm and we decided we should probably go to the hospital. So Matt, me, my 2 nieces, and nephew and sister all climbed in her van for the 20 minute trip to Forbes hospital.
Upon arrival I did not know which entrance to use. We went in and they found me a wheel chair and the administration nurse yelled at me for not calling ahead and for using the wrong entrance, and how had I not pre-registered! (I thought I had) I already felt like a failure as a parent.
They got me to L&D and I felt like I had lost all control over what happened to me, I was whisked around and had IV's inserted and I was scared and afraid to ask more questions. They checked and found I was only at 4 cm. But they kept me.
My baby was posterior and causing insane pain and pressure on my lower back, I wanted someone to sit on my back.
As labor progressed I wanted to crawl under the hospital bed, I stared at the tiles and envisioned crawling under them...thinking this would somehow stop the pain. But the pain was not unbearable, I was toughing it out with the great support of my boyfriend and sister.
This is a bit of a blur thanks to 6 yrs and Demerol, but i believe at 11 pm, although things were going as normal, regular contractions and progressing...but Dr's and nurses decided for me I should rest, as I had been laboring all day. Had they not decided I needed to rest (which I think was for their own reason as the Dr was leaving) I think baby would have came in a few hours. Instead they told me they were just giving me a little something to take the edge off so I could relax and rest between contractions. I had to pry out of them what 'this' was, as did Matt, because we agreed we did not want meds.
It was Demerol, they kept telling me how mild it was, mild my ass, it knocked me out, but not before I felt like someone snuck me some hardcore drugs. I felt like I was hallucinating.
Whilst questioning and telling them no thanks the nurse just ignored me as she injected it into my thigh. It burned, it burned bad and made my whole leg ache, maybe she hit a muscle...this injection spot ached for weeks after his birth.
I awoke some time the next morning where they had to give me pitocin to restart the contractions the demoral had stopped. But babies hb was still strong and I was still bearing through the pain. I so badly wanted to get out of the bed and move and they laughed and said no.
The nurses became very adamant that I needed an epidural. I kindly declined many offers and became annoyed with their drug dealer style of pressuring me into it. They began using scare tactics and finally presented it to me as a now or never situation. They actually had the anisth. come to my room to tell me he was leaving the floor, last chance...I caved.
Having the epidural inserted was the worst experience. Two big nurses laid me on my side and forcefully held me in the fetal position while he prepared, he stuck me right when I was having a contraction and those nurses squeezed me so very tight so I would not move. I felt the cold sensation and went completely numb from the belly down, sweet relief and sadness overcame me at the same time. I would not feel a thing, I already felt so disconnected with my babies birth.
By 10:45am I was fully dilated and they prepared me for delivery. They had to lift my legs into the stirrups, they were like huge chunks of meat I could not feel or move, I had the shakes...I was hungry, I was thirsty and I was scared.
The Dr came in, one of the men Dr's I probably only met once, I did not know his name, he was a stranger to me. He took his time putting on all that gear, the face mask frightened me even more. Being a learning hospital, 10 or so students filed into the back of the room against the wall, pen and clipboards in hand...staring at my open legs...I felt mortified.
I argued to allow 3 family members into the room for support, I got my way and they bitched about me breaking the 2 person rule. I insisted on having Matt there, and my sister, who taped it, and my 16 yo niece, who I promised for 9 months could watch.
The Dr. made a smart ass comment about there "being a lot of hair...and it's not the babies..hahaha", asshole. how dare he. He kept telling me I could do better...he is the same ass that argued with us about choosing to not mutilate my new babies penis and the same ass that ignored our "request" to not give our baby the hep B vax....
The final stage of delivery went very fast, I pushed maybe 3 or 4 times...with about 6 people screaming at me to push, one of the things I really did not want was all the people yelling to push. I felt nothing but pressure, more of that disconnected feeling...and feeling like I was under a spotlight, oh wait, I really was.
In my birth video the Dr says 'I have to cut you' and I freak and say no and ask if he really has to, he ignores me and cuts away. The nurse mumbles I was tearing and I say I'd rather tear, again, they ignore me... (Matt was near hitting the floor at this point, to this day I cannot say the 'E' word to him)
Finally my precious baby emerged and they laid his beautiful body on my chest, he was purple and not crying, I remember telling them to make him cry, he finally let out a wail, and pinkend up, Matt and I marvelled at his gorgeous puffy face and cried together. It seemed like such a brief moment while they immediately cut the cord and whisked him away.(matt was unable to cut it as he was near passing out) After watching the video he was on my chest for 5 seconds. And I have learned since to not let them immediately cut the cord!
It killed me to hear him screaming on the other side of the room, I could not see him and just wanted to hold him! They roughed him up, cleaned him off and did the inking etc while my niece took pics and my sis tried to video it while I delivered the placenta and was being stitched.
They finally handed me by sweet little boy, 6lb 14oz and 20" long, a little peanut bundled in too many blankets...I wanted to see his body, feel his skin on mine...I wanted to feel my legs. I wanted my body to stop shaking from the drugs. But Matt and I started into his calm big eyes and cried more.
My iv was causing a lot of pain and itched, the blood pressure thing on my arm was super tight and they ignored me about it all as I complained. My leg still ached from the demerol injection. I was hungry, thirsty, exhausted and wanted nothing more than for everyone but Matt to leave the room to sit and marvel at my new baby, to breastfeed.
My sister in law arrived immediately after his birth, followed by my in laws. I watched my new baby get passed from person to person before I got to cuddle, bond and put him to my breast. They moved me to my room and after an hour I finally got to nurse and he latched like a champ. But soon after, more and more visitors took my new baby and passed him around for 2 days. I wanted everyone to go away.
The nurses were not kind. I had to argue for him to stay in my room. I had to argue to let him sleep on me. I had to argue for them to not take him or give him a pacifier or a bottle. I got little to no sleep with all the machines, announcements, people in the hallways, the constant checks on me and baby every 2 hrs through the night. The phone rang much too often. Too many visitors, although I know they meant well and wanted to meet Max asap. I wanted to get out of there and be home!
I was finally released and Matt and I and our new baby were finally in the comfort of our own home. As first time parents, caring for a baby came quite natural to us. Matt had a whole month off of work to be with us.
Not knowing at the time there was a name for the style of parenting that came naturally to us, co-cleeping, baby wearing etc, it was interesting to read about Attachment parenting when I got pregnant with #2 :)